Welcome to All Saints Church, Witley

All Saints Church, Witley, Surrey

February: the month of persevering and purifying

As we enter February, I wonder how we are all doing with our new year resolutions? Are we enjoying the discipline, persevering through gritted teeth, wavering under the weight of daily life or feeling guilty at having given up? With a few lapses, I am trying to keep mine up - sorry no revelations on what they may be.

If January can often feel a long trudge back to work, school or the usual routines, I find February - being both the second and shortest month of the year - can come and go almost unnoticed. Funnily enough, it was with January one of the last two months to be established and given a name. The Romans thought the hard cold European winter was just one extended period to be endured and best marked monthless! I rather appreciate that idea. Eventually they gave in and named it after the purification ritual of Februum, which under the classical lunar calendar took place at the full moon on the 15th February. Very mysterious!

But it fits, whether we are persevering with our resolutions or purifying our good intentions after giving up; either recommitting ourselves to them with renewed vigour or simply offering greater enthusiasm to the normal tasks of our daily lives instead. At All Saints, as so often is the case, our spiritual lives mirror and walk alongside our practical ones. February always starts on the 2nd for us, or the nearest Sunday to it, with the lovely celebration of Candlemas. A splendid ancient word for one of the earliest annual festivals of the Church's year, marking the end of the Christmas / Epiphany season, it commemorates the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus. This is that wonderful story of Jesus being taken to the Temple in Jerusalem as a baby by his parents; where they offer thanks for the gift of a child and he is identified as the Saviour by two of the most beautiful characters in the New Testament - the kindly old gentleman Simeon, whose words of praise and thanksgiving are still sung by Christians throughout the world at evening worship:

"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace,
according to thy word;
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation
which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples,
A light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to thy people Israel."

and the venerable widowed prophetess Anna. If you are wondering, it is called Candlemas because traditionally everyone brought candles to their local church to be blessed and then lit in their homes throughout the year at important times - being a symbol of Jesus guiding them as the light of the world.

February can also often be the month when we begin the 40 days of the Lenten journey of penitence and prayer leading up to the celebration and joy of Easter. Though, as we don't begin Lent until the 6th March in 2019, we'll leave that till next month. So, whether we are persevering or purifying our hopes and intentions for 2019, I trust February will not pass us by without note and you will find a light to guide you during these cold wintry days!

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All Saints Church has a huge wooden door, which, while being very old and attractive in its own way can be a physical barrier to those who have never entered All Saints before - don't let it be like that. Turn the handle, push the door and come in, all are welcome. Inside you will find a building that is filled with the prayers of 1000 years, a wall painting that is 900 years old, a 700-year-old Lady Chapel with medieval stained glass, signs of the conflict in the 16th and 17th century with an unfinished memorial tablet in the sanctuary and several other family memorials. The 18th century put in a gallery which was removed by the Victorians who added so much more, including a whole aisle on the North Side. The Victorians with three generations of Chandler Vicars built the organ, the bell tower and the vestry. They refurbished the chancel ceiling, floor and altar and put up memorials to the eminent people of the day as they passed on. The beginning of the 20th century completed the collection of stained glass windows and introduced the pews we have now, instead of the previous box pews. All Saints is full of history reflecting the needs of the generations who have worshipped here before us. There have been many changes in the past few years which help us now to use the church on a daily basis for many different groups. There is a children's trail available with many interesting things to find out and see.

Please do come inside and explore and have time for yourself, the church is open in daylight hours. Or come and meet with others to worship or chat everyone is welcome.

If anyone would like to speak to Ann, please ring or email and we will endeavour to meet you as soon as we can.

The All Saints Parish Office, is in the grounds of Witley Infant School, opposite the Church.

Wishing you every blessing

James McKeran         Ann Fraser
                       James McKeran                                     Ann Fraser

The parish of Witley is made up of the villages of Witley, Brook, Wormley and Sandhills. The Parish Church of All Saints dates from about 1040 and is situated just off the main Petworth Road (A283) in Church Lane, opposite the White Hart public house. Witley CofE Infant School is opposite the church and has close links with it.

Apart from a regular pattern of worship on Sundays and Holy Days, the church serves the whole parish and after recent refurbishment is available every day for a variety of uses. The door is open in daylight hours for anyone who may wish to spend a quiet few moments or longer in the peace and quiet of this ancient building.

The mission of the church in Witley is to bring the love of God to all who live and work there. The church is open to all people, and here to serve the entire parish. Everyone is welcome at all services and other events and anyone is welcome to use the space in church for their own charitable or social events where appropriate. Click here for more information on using the church for your event.

If you are new to the area you are very welcome! There are a wide range of activities going on around the church that may interest you.

A team of Pastoral Assistants visit the housebound, take Communion to those who can't get to church for whatever reason, and generally help the clergy keep an eye on pastoral needs.

Ann would be pleased to talk with and welcome you. Enjoy the web-site!

Please feel free to click on the links above or on the right to find out more about us.

Be sure to visit our Parish News section which is updated weekly.

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